Taste Shape Links (08-17-21)

Motoki and Velasco researched links between shapes and flavors.  They found that “People associate tastes and visual shapes non-randomly. For example, round shapes are associated with sweet taste, while angular shapes are associated with sour and bitter tastes. Previous studies have focused on one-to-one taste-shape associations, where either geometrical shapes or shapes on a product’s packaging have been presented in isolation and evaluated separately. However, in real-life product displays, products are typically surrounded by other products. We examined whether shape contexts can influence the taste expectations associated with target products across five experiments . . . Participants saw a display set (target shape in the middle surrounded by shapes on both sides. . . . When the surrounding shapes were angular (vs. round), the target shapes were rated as sweeter/more umami and less sour/salty/bitter. . . . The findings provide insights for food marketers when it comes to designing product package displays to convey taste information more effectively.”

Kosuke Motoki and Carlos Velasco.  2021. “Taste-Shape Correspondences in Context.”  Food Quality and Preference, vol. 88, 104082, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2020.104082